Job Sharing Pros and Cons

It’s like part-time work, but better

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Job sharing is an employment arrangement in which two employees share the responsibilities of one full-time job, usually with prorated paid-leave accruals and salaries. Job-sharing schemes often evenly split the workload and hour requirements between the two employees, but some offer other schedules. For instance, instead of both employees working 20 hours per week, one person might work 25 hours and the other might work 15.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Fair Labor Standards Act does not cover job-sharing arrangements. However, employers are increasingly employing such flexible work arrangements to retain workers and attract new recruits. Learn the advantages and disadvantages of job sharing to see if this type of work plan is right for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Job sharing enables two employees to perform the duties of one full-time job.
  • Job-sharing partners usually must share benefits, such as sick leave and vacation days, and a salary.
  • Finding compatible partners is the key factor of a job-sharing program.
  • During difficult economic times, employers often offer job-sharing programs to retain their workforce.

Job Sharing Pros and Cons for Employees

  • Partnership

  • More time off

  • Reduced childcare costs

  • Varied perspectives

  • Benefits

  • Finding a work partner

  • Advancement

  • Benefits and pay

  • Workspace problems

Pros Explained

  • Partnership: Since two employees conduct the same job responsibilities, they can fill in for each other when one gets sick or goes on vacation.
  • More time off: Ajob-sharing arrangement enables you to spend more time with your family. It can also allow you to go back to school, invest more time in a hobby, join a volunteer organization, or get a second job.
  • Less time spent commuting: If your job share requires you to visit the office or worksite regularly, you won’t have to commute as often, which also may save in fuel expenses if you drive your own car.
  • Reduced childcare costs: Parents who work reduced hours can spend more time with their kids while paying less for childcare.
  • Varied perspectives: When two people share a job, they can complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses while enhancing problem-solving abilities. Job sharing also offers the opportunity to improve your team skills.
  • Benefits: Often, part-time jobs do not include benefits such as paid vacation time or sick leave. However, job-sharing employees who share a full-time job may qualify for prorated benefits. For example, if a full-time employee gets 20 days of vacation, two employees sharing a job can each receive 10 vacation days.

Cons Explained

  • Finding a work partner: Personal and professional compatibility are keys to forming a good working relationship between job-sharing partners. Incompatible partners may have difficulty sharing responsibilities or may clash over scheduling.
  • Communication issues: Job-sharing partners must maintain good communication. They must constantly share information about the progress of their work, meeting developments, training, and vacation schedules.
  • Advancement: Job sharing may decrease your potential to advance to a better position.
  • Benefits and pay: Job-sharing partners must share their benefits and salaries. If your employer offers you a job-sharing arrangement to avoid a layoff, you’ll face sacrifices. For instance, if you earned $60,000 per year working full time, and enjoyed 20 days of paid vacation, a job-sharing arrangement would cut your paycheck and paid leave in half.
  • Workspace problems: Job-sharing partners must reach an agreement about maintaining their shared workspace. Conflicts could arise over workspace cleanliness or document storage. Partners and their employer may also face workspace problems if the partners’ work schedules overlap.

Job Sharing Pros and Cons for Employers

  • Retention of talent

  • Improved efficiency and service

  • Continuity

  • Reduced expenditures

  • Compatibility issues

  • Supervision challenges

  • Workspace problems

  • Performance inequities

Pros Explained

  • Retention of talent: During tough economic times, employers can avoidlaying off workers by implementing a job-sharing plan. By retaining their talent, employers can avoid the costs of hiring and training new workers when the economy improves. If you’re an employer, job-sharing lets you keep your best and brightest employees when life events make full-time work a challenge for them.
  • Improved efficiency and service: Offering job sharing can improve employees’ performances. By enabling workers to balance their work and personal time, they can avoid burnout.
  • Continuity: When employees go on vacation, take family leave, or call in sick, employers must replace them or accept less productivity. But with a job-sharing arrangement, partners can fill in for each other when one of them is away from work. Job sharing can also ensure continuous performance during workload surges such as holiday or tax seasons.
  • Reduced expenditures: Job-sharing schemes enable employers to keep their workers while reducing their payrolls.

 Cons Explained

  • Compatibility issues: When job-sharing partners squabble, their employer might need to intervene. In some cases, an employer must help arrange a new partnership or discipline one or both partners. An employer may also face a hiring dilemma if a job-sharing partner resigns.
  • Supervision challenges: When two people share a job, supervisors may have a hard time tracking their productivity and evaluating their performances. Job-sharing schemes also create more administrative work for supervisors, such as documenting sick leave and vacations, arranging training sessions, and conducting performance reviews.
  • Workspace problems: Ideally, job-sharing partners can share the same workspace. But in certain circumstances, such as overlapping schedules, an employer might need to arrange for two workstations.
  • Performance inequities: In some cases, one job-sharing partner doesn’t manage their part of the workload. When this happens, managers might have a difficult time sorting out which partner holds the blame. They may also need to terminate the weak partner, which can lead to decreased productivity and a hiring challenge.

The Bottom Line

Both employers and employees can experience job sharing as a challenge. However, it may be worth considering for the right job staffed by the right two people who are willing to compromise, get along, and communicate effectively with each other.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How does job sharing work?

In a job-sharing arrangement, two employees share one full-time job. For example, they might each work 20 hours per week on different schedules. They also share the position’s salary, sick leave, and vacation days. For instance, if the position pays $100,000 and each job-sharing partner works an equal number of hours, they would each earn $50,000.

How common is job sharing?

According to the Brookings Institute, job-sharing programs are common in 26 states, which encompass 70% of the U.S. workforce. Employers first turned to job sharing during the Great Recession. The CARES Act of 2020 encourages employers to offer job-sharing programs and provides monetary incentives to firms that do.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Department of Labor. “Job Sharing.”

  2. Duke University Human Resources. “Job Sharing.”

  3. Office of Personnel Management. “Part-Time & Job Sharing.”

  4. Crampton, S., Douglas, C., Hodge, J., & Mishra, J. (2003). "Job Sharing: Challenges and Opportunities." Seidman Business Review, 9(1), 21.

  5. Brookings. “What Is Work Sharing and How Can It Help the Labor Market?

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